Weather hampers search
A search and rescue mission battled snow and fog on Friday to hunt for eight South Koreans, three Europeans and three Peruvians whose helicopter went missing in the mountainous south of the country. The bad weather prevented aircraft from participating in the mission, while mountain patrols that left on Thursday from the villages of Ocongate and Marcapata saw their progress hampered by deep snow. “The conditions are very adverse. Snow in the area is now about 30cm deep and fog makes it impossible to view the ground from the air,” Cusco police chief General Hector Dulanto said.
Pro-NASA events hosted
More than a dozen US universities were scheduled to host events yesterday to urge support for NASA, which faces major cuts to its planetary programs in the next fiscal year. Ranging from shoe shines to car washes and bake sales, the events were not actually designed to raise money to send to NASA, the organizers stressed. “Our goal is not to raise money but to raise awareness and to have people tell [US] Congress to put the funds back to last year’s funding level,” said Cindy Conrad, an assistant at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
Drug baron gets 23 years
A court sentenced Jamaican drug baron Christopher “Dudus” Coke to 23 years in prison on Friday, bringing the curtain down on the career of one of the Caribbean’s most notorious gangsters. Coke pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering, following his 2010 extradition from Jamaica. The sentence passed in New York federal court by Judge Robert Patterson was the maximum. It did not reflect the multiple murders and years of cocaine trafficking that Coke presided over in his Kingston stronghold. The head prosecutor for Manhattan, US Attorney Preet Bharara, said that Coke’s crime empire had finally crumbled.
Man seeks phone pay-off
A man assigned the old phone number of Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who has been charged with murder for shooting dead an unarmed black teenager, is seeking compensation after a rash of threatening calls. Junior Alexander Guy, 49, got his first cellphone last month. Immediately he was besieged by callers angry at Zimmerman, who gave the number to a police dispatcher in a recorded call the night of the shooting. Guy told the Sentinel he was forced to move out of his home and relocate his mother, who lived with him. Orlando lawyer Robert Trimble has asked T-Mobile to pay damages, “a fair and reasonable sum,” to Guy, but the cellphone provider, according to reports, has refused.
Tribe seeks end to logging
A tribe that calls the Amazon rainforest home is urging the government to stop illegal logging on its land, a watchdog said on Friday. In a statement, Survival International said the Awa tribe had made a “desperate appeal” to the minister of justice to “evict loggers from our land immediately ... before they come back and destroy everything.” Consisting of just 450 people, the Awa tribe suffers the fastest rate of deforestation in the Amazon, according to the group. The appeal calls on the public to show their support for the Awa by sending protest messages to the Minister of Justice Jose Eduardo Cardozo. So far, more than 27,000 people have done so, Survival said.